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Montgomery Invite Preview
By: Tom Rogers

Meet Director Tom Martin picks the best of the best events to watch and previews the invitational mile races

BOYS SHOT PUT - Sean Stanley of Gaithersburg, MD, holding a PR of 60-00.25 ft, will lead a group of six throwers who have all topped 50 ft.

BOYS AND GIRLS LONG JUMP - With ten boys entered over 21 ft and ten girls entered over 17 ft, both of these meet records could easily fall.

GIRLS 55M - What do you get when you combine two parts Digital Harbor, one part McDonough and one part Elizabeth Seaton together with one part Olivia Ekpone of Wooton? An absolutely electric 55m race.

GIRLS HIGH JUMP - Pearl Bickersteth of Potomac and Shantae Boney of Largo have both cleared 5'8" this season and should topple one of our oldest meet records.

BOYS AND GIRLS 4X200m - Many outstanding local teams will do battle in this race and the results should be scintillating.

GIRLS 400m - Nike Indoor National All-American at 60m, 200m, and 400m last year as a freshman, Olivia Ekpone of Wootton headlines a stellar field in the girl's 400m. If you haven't seen her run, you're in for a real treat.

BOYS 800M - Antonio Palmer of Gaithersburg (1:53.66) and a strong field of half milers will surely put this meet record in jeopardy.

BOYS 4X800M RELAY - Coming all the way from Tidewater Virginia, Albemarle HS brings their national runner-up relay team to the Montgomery Invitational for the first time. They ran 7:42 at the National Championships last year and are gunning for the meet record. Look for them to be challenged by local powerhouses Damascus HS and Churchill HS.

GIRLS 3200m - A very deep field that has several entrants posting "big" times. Recently, Katie Harman of River Hill, MD ran 11:01 last week and freshman Sarah Stites, a XC standout for Thomas Jefferson, VA last fall ran 11:08 three weeks ago. With juniors Lindsi Arrington of Garfield, VA and Kaitlyn Davis of Mountain View, Va to push them, this race could easily finish under 11 minutes.

BOYS 3200M - While not as deep a field as the boys mile, this race could well be the highlight of the meet. It boasts three of the top distance runners in the east. Headlining this race is none other than Solomon Haile of Sherwood HS. Maryland State record holder at 3200m (9:06.13) and recent Footlocker National XC champion, he was also the Nike Indoor and Outdoor National Champion at 5000m last year. Nobody was close to him during the XC season and now he drops down to the 3200m and faces meet record holder (9:13.34) Graham Bazell of Atholton, MD (the only other runner besides Haile to ever break 16 minutes on the infamous Hereford XC course). If that's not enough, enter Thomas Porter of Mountain View, the VA 3A XC champ and the third place finisher at the Footlocker National XC Championships with a 9:15 PR. There is no doubt that all of these guys are out to win and as a result, we may witness a sub 9-minute 3200m!

Boys Mile

This year's field is the deepest ever assembled at the Montgomery Invitational and promises to provide the fireworks of an exciting mile.

T J HOBART, Baldwin, PA - With a 4:12.09 to his credit and a big win at the bishop Loughlin games in New York, he seems poised to make a strong bid for a Millrose Mile Invitation. He has amazing speed -- with 48-400m and 1:52-800m relay legs behind him, his competitors won't want to be within reach of his ferocious kick.

TYLER STUTZMAN, Western Albemarle-, VA - A very tough competitor with great range - he has PRs of 1:56/800m, 4:14/1600m, 9:15/3200m, and he will be in the mix no matter what the pace.

RAMSEY CHAPIN, Georgetown Prep, MD - This tall, quiet miler has been under the tutelage of legendary distance coach Greg Dunston for the last two years. Having already run a blistering 3:54.55 1500m, his future is very bright and he could be a major factor in this race. As strong in the classroom as he is on the track, he has already committed to Stanford University.

THOMAS PORTER, Mountain View, VA,- Coming off his best XC season ever with a VA AAA State Championship finally under his belt, he finished third at the Foot Locker National XC Championships. While his PR is "only" 4:19, he has never been this strong and this field could push him to a new level and a trip to NYC.

BOBBY PEAVEY, Kellam HS, VA - His 1600m PR is 4:18.56, but he just ran 9:08.74 - the U.S. #1 3200m time of 9:08.74 on December 13 , so his fitness level is such that he is ready to run a great mile.

LE DEGFAE, Edison, VA - This runner has been on fire over the last month! Building on a huge XC season where he earned all American honors at Foot Locker, Le has already posted a monster 4:18/2:32 double. Last week, he ran a 9:13.34 3200 m, the U.S. #2 time this season. Could he be our next Millrose Mile qualifier?

ANDREW PALMER, Whitman HS, MD - A Montgomery County distance running star since his freshman year, Andrew was the State 4A Champion in XC as a sophomore and second only to Foot Locker National Champion Solomon Haile this year.

DAVID EUBANKS, Chambersburg, PA - A solid miler out of the highly regarded Chambersburg program with a 4:23 to his credit, he will be ready to run.

CRAIG MORGAN, River Hill, MD - MD 2A State Champ at 800m and 1600m last spring and MD 2A champ in XC this fall, he is described as versatile and tough by opposing coaches. Often in the shadow of his fellow Howard County distance star Graham Bazell, this race could let him stake his claim to the shorter distances.

TI DEGFAE, Edison, VA - The "other" twin has impressive credentials of his own and has already posted a 4:24 1600m early this season. He had a big breakout PR in this race last year and could be capable of going sub-4:20.

NEAL HENDRICKS, Oakton, VA - Last year's Montgomery Invitational Champion at 1600m earned his spot into the big race. He was #2 man on Oakton's power house state champion XC team and is running stronger than ever.

Girls Mile

This year's girls mile brings together some of the top runners from four states and promises to deliver an exciting race as they vie for a chance to go to New York.

The small private Tatnall School from Wilmington, DE sends us two of our top competitors this year. Juliet Bottorff heads the field with PRs of 2:13, 4:52, and 10:50 and is considered one of the best distance runners in Delaware history. She is the three time Delaware state cross country champion and is joined by her co-captain Katie Buenaga who has a PR of 5:04. These two led their XC team to a third place finish at the Nike Team Nationals last fall and provide an explosive one-two punch! That could set the standard for this race.

Liana Epstein, Lake Braddock, VA -- She ran 4:57 as a sophomore last year while also posting a 2:15 800m PR and recently finished 5th at the Virginia 3A XC Championships. She is a highly competitive runner and should certainly be found in the thick of things this afternoon.

Ariel Karabinus, Osbourn Park, VA and Becca Kassabian, Oakton, VA, were both top 15 finishers in the Virginia 3A XC Championships. With respective PRs of 5:06 and 5:14, they are part of a strong Virginia contingent in this race.

Amirah Johnson, Eleanor Roosevelt, MD - She was a national record holder as a freshman! Anyone who saw her incredible 2:08 relay leg in the 4x800m championship of America at the Penn Relays knows that this young lady is destined to be a star. She won the 1000m at Va Tech in 3:01 last year and won the Maryland 4A Indoor State Championship at 1600m in 5:06. Quite an amazing season for a freshman. What will she follow up with this season?

The dynamic duo of Anna Demaree - 5:07 - and Katie Harman - 5:08 - hail from River Hill HS in MD. Harman and Demaree finished one-two in the 1600m at last week's Southern Maryland Megameeet. While Demaree won the 1000m in 3:10 and Harman won the 3200m in 11:01, these two have got any distance covered and should be able to make solid bids for a Millrose Invitation.

Kellie Hall, Brooke Point, VA. -- Miss Hall ran PR's of 5:10 and 2:16 as a sophomore last year and is known for being a consistently tough competitor.

Stephanie Marzen and Colleen Wade have run 11:28 and 11:17 respectively for 3200m. These two super sophomores out of Northern Virginia both ran 5:10 for 1600m last year and are among five strong sophomore entrants in this race.

Brit Eckerstrom - Northwest HS, MD - Last year's Montgomery Invitational 1600m champion, she has PR's of 5:12 and 11:12 and was Maryland 4A state cross country runner up as a freshman last year. For being so young, she is a fierce competitor and runs like a seasoned veteran.


2009-01-09 10:22:24

Good write-up. Surprised that Davis from VA isn't in the womens race since she's consistently beaten half of the list during the XC season and so far this track season. She actually finished 5th ahead of Epstein at States and Epstein was 6th. I see she's in the 1600 but did her coach not enter her for the mile?

2009-01-09 14:14:04

Does anyone know what happened to Alex Doll? I know she is a national soccer player. Is she playing soccer, with not enough time for indoor track?

2009-01-11 12:20:43

My only guess is that Alex Doll is NOT doing Indoor. She is probably doing Soccer. (sighs) Oh well, this is her decision I guess. I'm gonna miss watching her in the mile. I haven't seen her at all this Indoor Season!!

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